Having a will professionally prepared allows for the orderly disposition of your assets on death in the manner you direct. Your will can be structured to implement, as appropriate, tax savings and/or postponement of tax payable. Having a professionally prepared will reduces your level of stress should you become seriously ill as you have removed the pressure to then make a will. Reduction or elimination of potential disputes by persons having an interest in your estate can also be expected.
By not having a will you risk, for example: apportionment and delivery of your estate assets as directed by legislation, delivery of a child’s unused share of your estate at age 18 instead of at a more mature age; capital gains taxes being assessed against a child’s share instead of being postponed with proper planning; guardianship disputes, disputes by beneficiaries or interested parties as to naming estate trustee(s).
For self employed, salaried and retired persons with significant assets, tax structured, estate planning is recommended to consider recognized strategies, which if applicable to your situation, may result in tax savings on death. Savings include reduction of Ontario’s Estate Administration Tax (probate fee) and postponement of capital gains tax. Without a will, tax savings strategies may not be able to be implemented.
If your will is more than a few years old or if there has been a significant change in your personal situation, we can assist you to determine the necessity of a new will. Examples of material change are: having started a family, children having grown up, having started a successful business, marriage, separation/divorce, subsequent marriage.
We strongly recommend you make a will, if possible, when you are healthy. You never know if and when you could die from an accident, heart attack or stroke. You do not need the stress of making a will when you are facing the added stress of an operation or imminent death.
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POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Should you become incapacitated all of your assets except for liquid joint assets, e.g. joint bank account are frozen and are administered at a charge to you by the Public Trustee of Ontario if you do not have a properly documented and executed power of attorney for property. Considerable stress, time expended, legal expenses, expenses by the Public Trustee over which a family member or friend has no control, as well as, charges by the Public Trustee for its services, can be expected before a family member or friend can regain control of your assets.
A personal care power of attorney is critical for your continued care in the event you are unable to understand the personal care questions then being asked or if there is uncertainty or potential conflict as to who is to speak on your behalf.
We will be pleased to assist you with the preparation of your will and powers of attorney. For this service, you can expect two appointments. During the first appointment, we discuss your financial and personal situation and your objectives with a view to taking instructions. The second appointment consists of reviewing the prepared documents with you and to witnessing their signing.